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Bassist Alejandro Gonzalez Featured on Cuba’s Sweet Lizzy Project

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Bassist Alejandro Gonzalez Featured on Cuba’s Sweet Lizzy Project

Latest news from Bassist Alejandro Gonzalez…

Bassist Alejandro Gonzalez Featured on Cuba’s Sweet Lizzy Project.

Every debut album represents a journey, but few have come as far or struggled so tenaciously for the chance to be heard on their own terms as Cuba’s Sweet Lizzy Project. The five-piece rock band built a strong following in its native Havana with scant resources or infrastructure to support them, in a cultural setting where they could never be entirely themselves. 

The filming of Havana Time Machine served to transport the band to another time and place. The American PBS special surveyed the city’s music scene and culminated in a live concert featuring Sweet Lizzy Project, some more-traditional Cuban artists, and lauded American roots rockers the Mavericks. 

Mavericks founder and lead singer Raul Malo, whose parents emigrated from Cuba in 1960, became transfixed by Sweet Lizzy’s music and story. He sponsored the band for U.S. work visas and signed them to his band’s record company Mono Mundo, starting the process in late 2017. According to Malo, “I know Mavericks when I see them.”

Malo and his family have housed and counseled the members of Sweet Lizzy Project while ushering them into Nashville’s finest studios and a world of music professionalism and abundance unavailable in Cuba.

Sweet Lizzy’s musicians love Cuba and cherish its culture and traditions. But they’re clear-eyed about its problems and limits, and they are here to advocate for the best of both worlds with their music.  They made the bold decision to uproot their lives and relocate to Nashville, starting almost from square one, since they had been well known in their native country.

The band’s U.S. debut album, Technicolor, due out February 21, 2020, is a statement bigger and bolder than the gulf separating Cuba and the United States, or even than the album’s polychromatic, pulsing sound. It’s a musical bridge SLP hopes others will cross. The feisty, infectious album draws on several eras of rock and pop, adding subtle Latin undertones. 

Lead vocalist and lyricist Lisset Diaz has an unmistakable and expressive voice, a controlled passion that may recall Kate Bush, Natalie Merchant or Paramore’s Hayley Williams. Co-writer and bandleader Miguel Comas is possibly Cuba’s most respected record producer and rock guitarist. The band is rounded out by Wilfredo Gatell on keyboards, bassist Alejandro Gonzalez and drummer Ángel Luis Millet.

Lisset is remarkable in ways that aren’t apparent on stage or record.

She graduated from the University of Havana at the top of her class as a biochemistry major while creating music on the side. In 2012 she met Miguel, who was establishing himself as a producer and building a career in a city with few resources. He built a working recording studio in an apartment bedroom, with computers and audio gear that had to be purchased in the gray market or traded among friends. He absorbed new influences and obtained new music not through the highly restricted Internet, but via an underground network called El Paquete, in which delivery messengers circulate USB thumb drives hand-to-hand with the latest Western albums, music videos and TV shows. Despite these challenges, Miguel’s bands were performing around Cuba and touring overseas, from South America to Japan.

Lisset stood out for wanting to write and perform original rock ’n’ roll in English, and Miguel saw potential.

When their first duo recordings earned attention in Cuba, she left her science track and the two added musicians to form a band and bring the material to its full rocking realization. Sweet Lizzy Project — a riff on Lisset’s name and on the neighborhood where they did most of their rehearsing — took to the clubs and nightspots of Havana City. Their most frequent shows were at the famous Yellow Submarine, referencing an iconic group that had been banned in Cuba in the ’60s and ’70s. SLP were favorites at the prestige hotel Melia Habana and the cultural center Fabrica de Arte Cubano.

When Raul Malo met the band, they were already regulars on state television and a mature touring operation with staging, techs and roadies. They’d released a debut album called Heaven and a hit English language rearrangement of the Enrique Iglesias smash “Subeme La Radio.” 

In Lisset, Miguel and their colleagues, Malo saw dedicated professionals, and he heard mature talent that could continue to grow.

But he also saw the glass ceiling over their heads, and he launched his effort to support them. Working against the clock, since the Trump administration was restricting immigration generally, Sweet Lizzy Project got out of the country and made a new start in Nashville in late 2017.

Production of the album Technicolor began with tracks recorded in Miguel’s Havana bedroom studio. Malo’s longtime recording engineer, the award-winning Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Melissa Etheridge), was impressed with those sounds and figured out ways to keep many of them in the mix. But the band also enjoyed the thrill of playing together in a studio for the very first time, and not just any studio but one of Nashville’s finest — Blackbird Studio. With time on their hands to rehearse, write and create, a somewhat new vision for the album took shape, one that will upend expectations for what a Cuban band is allowed to sound like.

The album opens with a clear, spacious atmosphere that lets Lisset’s voice make her opening statement, and before long the track swells into a rich chorale of voices and strings.

Over an epic six minutes, “Technicolor” turns into a psychedelic rocket ride that conjures the orchestral chill of Pink Floyd, with lead guitar by Miguel.  Moving forward, we find “These Words,” a song about striving to be understood, which opens like a ballad but blossoms into a throbbing guitar jam.  “This album is about telling our story, about changes in our personal and professional lives,” Lisset says about including the track “Turn Up the Radio.”  “It’s great to have a song that was part of our creative process back home in this body of work. All of these songs started in Cuba. They should stay together.” Two Spanish language songs are featured (“Tu Libertad” and “Vuelta Atras”) as well as a duet with the Mavericks, “The Flower’s in the Seed.”

In the live performance, bassist Alejandro Gonzalez and all members get solo time in the spotlight.

They bring the boisterous Cuban nightlife to theaters and halls, gelling with the crowd and building an atmosphere of electricity and love. They played the grand opening of the new Bluegrass Underground venue Near Nashville, a rousing set literally in a cave that was broadcast on PBS. Other media followed, including a profile on NPR’s Weekend Edition and a cover story in the Miami Herald

Miguel says that even though Sweet Lizzy Project enjoyed star status in Havana, the United States — the birthplace of rock ’n’ roll — is where he and his co-creators need to be, even with its setbacks and sacrifices. “We can overcome the impression that Cuban music is only rumba and son,” he says. “Having the chance to play for American audiences, that is a win for us already. We’ve had everything against us, but we are here.”

“We’ve been outsiders from the start,” adds Lisset. “In Cuba, we were swimming against the tide by singing rock ’n’ roll in English. It took us time to gain respect by the institutions that would let us play our music. And then we had a chance to come here, and we’re outsiders again. But that’s okay. We just want to play.” The band has opened dates for Heart, Joan Jett, JOHNNYSWIM and Jamey Johnson, and much more touring is expected to follow.

Visit online at sweetlizzyproject.com

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Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

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Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

Mark Egan, Cross Currents…

It is exciting every time I get a new album from Mark Egan as he is such an amazingly versatile player and I never know what to expect (except for excellent artistry!) In his latest release, Mark has teamed up with Shawn Peyton on drums and Shane Theriot on guitar to bring us “Cross Currents”.

This collection of eleven tracks transports me to the Gulf Coast (New Orleans specifically). Mark’s fretless basses lay down a solid groove and lots of juicy solo work for this rootsy collection of funk, ambient, swamp-rock, second line, ballads, Cajun and even Indian Raga.

This trio is super-tight and the musicianship is flawless as each member has ample opportunity to shine. Even though each player is very talented in their own right, I feel that the collective energy is greater than just the sum of the players on this album. Each musician contributed to composing music for this project but the lion’s share are Mark’s original pieces.

I spent the summer of 1981 in New Orleans and this wonderful music takes me back to those fond memories. I participated in a wacky raft race on Lake Ponchatrain and this opening track elicits images of fun, sunshine, music, and great food.

This is another superb album that everyone will enjoy. Get your copy today! Cross Currents is available online at Amazon.com. Visit Mark online at markegan.com.

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New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album

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New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce "Kingdom of Shred" Album

ALBERTO RIGONI’s New Project NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album, Feat. Super Talented Guests Such as Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner + Many Others

Worldwide known Italian bassist and composer ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD As, Kim Bingham, Vivaldi Metal Project, etc.) announces the new album “Kingdom of Shred” of his new project NEMESIS CALL. 

Alberto says: 
“Even if my latest album “Unexpected Lullabies”, dedicated to my newborn Vittoria Parini Rigoni, was released on June 4th 2024, I felt the need to compose new music (yes, I really can’t stop!). This time will be quite challenging because I’m willing to release an instrumental shred/prog/rock/metal/melodic album, that will feature many talented top-notch musicians such as drummer Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner, Alexandra Lioness, Aanika Pai (11 years old!), Keiji by Zero (19 years old!), SAKI and many others TBA/TBC). It won’t be easy to manage all such great musicians but I will make it! Are you ready to face a new prog experience? The album will be released in Digipack CD and in high-quality digital format approximately at the beginning of 2025 or maybe for Christmas!.”

As an independent artist, Alberto Rigoni has launched a fundraising campaign to support the project. Support at www.albertorigoni.net/nemesiscall. 20% of the income will be donated to Lega del Filo d’Oro (www.legadelfilodoro.it/it), an Italian association that helps deaf and blind children!

Visit online at www.albertorigoni.net | albertorigoni.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/albertorigonimusic | www.badas.rocks

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New Album: Los Lonely Boys first new album in 11 years, Resurrection

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New Album: Los Lonely Boys first new album in 11 years, Resurrection

Today, Los Lonely Boys announce the release of their first new album in 11 years.

Out August 2nd via BMG, Resurrection marks a return to form for the GRAMMY-winning, multi-platinum trio of Texican brothers, who have performed everywhere from the GRAMMYs telecast to the World Series to recent tours with The Who. Lead single “Wish You Would” conjures the group’s classic sound, combining breezy guitar leads with hard-earned doses of wisdom.

“It’s something we think people need to hear—especially the youth,” says bassist/vocalist Jojo Garza, speaking on “Wish You Would” and Resurrection. “When we’re young, we think we have it figured out. When you get older, you start to see things differently. Having kids of our own, we see their ambitions and ideas of what they want to be, so we want to be good parents. The message is, ‘Be careful what you wish for. There could be a false light, and we don’t want you to get hurt’.”

After an extended break from recording, Los Lonely Boys are making a triumphant return with Resurrection. Rejuvenated and more cosmically attuned than ever before, the album rekindles the sonic fire that bonds the Los Lonely Boys brotherhood, while also paying respects to Texas legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Fender, among others. The album was recorded at guitarist/vocalist Henry Garza’s home studio in St. Angelo, TX, and El Paso’s Sonic Ranch (Fiona Apple, Bon Iver, Snarky Puppy etc), and mixed live in Chicago by Chris Gelin at Opus Audio Labs. 

This year Los Lonely Boys will also celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their self-titled debut, which reached double-platinum status and yielded the gold-certified, generational smash “Heaven,” which earned them a GRAMMY Award for Best Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and performance on the awards telecast. The brothers’ follow-up Sacred bowed at #2 on the Billboard 200, paving the way for fan favorites ForgivenRockpango, and Revelation. Along the way, Los Lonely Boys collaborated with legends such as Santana, Willie Nelson, and Dr. John. 

Even as they’ve been away from the studio, Los Lonely Boys have continued to tour tirelessly for decades, and this year they’ve hit the road again for an extensive, months-long run across the US. They will also perform on select shows alongside long time friends Los Lobos. Find tickets here. Pre-order Resurrection

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New Album: Alberto Rigoni, Unexpected Lullabies

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New Album: Alberto Rigoni, Unexpected Lullabies

Alberto Rigoni, Unexpected Lullabies…

ALBERTO RIGONI Springs Surprises on “Unexpected Lullabies” Album, Out Today!

Today, Italian bassist and composer ALBERTO RIGONI has released his new solo album “Unexpected Lullabies” via Sliptrick Records, containing songs that are half-sweet and half rock-metal. The album is produced and partially composed by Alberto Rigoni and it’s dedicated to Vittoria Parini Rigoni and all newborn babies. 

Alberto shared: “There are no just tragedies in this world, life is going on!”

Album Design and Artwork created by Mark Barrett at elmtreecreative.co.uk

Among the various bass used one belonged to Randy Coven for the recording of Ark – Burn The Sun. Alberto searched it for years since he’s a great fan of Randy (Rest in Peace and Power)!

Tracklist:
01. Vittoria
02. Fly Me To The Moon
03. Azzurra
04. Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
05. Out Of Fear
06. Veni Laetitia
07. Nenia
08. Slap Lullaby
09. Saga
10. Vicky
11. Ocean Traveler
12. Strangers In The Night
13. Peaceful
14. Un uomo che voga

Order the album at deadpulse.com/product/alberto-rigoni-unexpected-lullabies/

This album promises to be a collection of auditory wonders, each track a testament to Rigoni’s genius and his ability to transcend musical boundaries. Featuring a symphony of guest musicians alongside Rigoni’s virtuosic bass, Unexpected Lullabies is poised to be a beacon for lovers of music, an invitation to explore the depths of creativity and emotion. What makes ‘Unexpected Lullabies’ even more exciting is the assembly of musical titans. The album features the legendary bassist Michael Manring, the keyboard wizardry of Alessandro Bertoni (of the Graham Bonnet Band) and Vitalij Kuprij (known for Artension and Trans-Siberian Orchestra), and many more yet-to-be-revealed guest artists.

Alberto Rigoni is:
Alberto Rigoni – Bass | Plus various guest musicians

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New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

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New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

The Chilean bassist, producer and sociologist, Ben Mortiz, celebrates the launch of his latest studio work, “MORENO” an album that mixes jazz, soul, and funk following the characteristic Latin style of  Mortiz. The artist completely produced the album under the label “Fallen Lab Records” in the south of Chile.

“MORENO” brings deep and smooth sounds, expressing a sophisticated and elegant Latin vibe. You will find meditative harmonies and joyful melodic voices. The record’s core is the human vibration that Mortiz feels from the Latin American music. The Caribbean rhythms and strong Latin percussions are the musical glue in every song that emerges with the force of the electric bass.

“MORENO” creates a real connection between corporal reactions and mind sensations, always in reference to the originality of Mortiz to fuse modern and classic Latin sounds.

For more information, visit online at danielbenmortiz.com/

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